History Comes to Life through Oral Interviews at Genoa Middle School

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Students in Tracy Jados’ sixth grade English Language Arts class at Genoa Middle School are learning about the value of firsthand knowledge by embarking on an oral history project designed to hone their interviewing and reporting skills. 

On Thursday, February 4, Cleveland sports writer Doug Lesmerises visited their classroom to offer suggestions about conducting interviews.  He brought up things like maintaining good posture and keeping eye contact; speaking with a clear and understandable voice; listening politely and attentively; and asking thoughtful, “talk worthy” questions, with follow-ups. 

After the pupils formulated questions, dozens of senior citizens who have lived through and witnessed history were invited into the building to be interviewed about everything from what they remember about their education and inventions to entertainment and family traditions.  They were also asked about what has changed during their lifetime and what has stayed the same.  The pupils took notes and organized their information in preparation of creating a final report.